Planning Statements

we write planning statements to help you secure planning permission

We write many different types of planning statement. This page will give an insight into the main types.

All statements are prepared by an experienced RTPI Planning Consultants with the assistance of a RIBA Chartered Architect in cases where design matters need specific justification.

We also call on wider expertise, as needed, including Barristers, Highways Consultants, Ecologists, Sustainability Consultants, Arboriculturist, Landscape Architects and Visualisers.

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There are many different types of planning statements - see below

Planning Statements

These are similar to a Design and Access Statement but goes further. They identify, assesses and justify the proposal in planning terms, including how the development accords with the relevant local and national planning policies.

Typically, it will comprise a justification of the technical aspects, including highways, trees, ecology, landscaping, planning policy, sustainability, and community involvement.

When is a planning statement useful?

In all but the most simple of cases. The local planning authority will need to consider how the development accords to the relevant policies.

It is an applicant’s opportunity to justify the scheme, rather than simply assume that the Planning Department will agree with them.

Planning statements can be useful for changes of use applications, householder extensions and lawful development certificates

We submit statements across a wide range of sectors:

including domestic, residential, commercial, retail, leisure and mixed use.

We have specific experience in Paragraph 79 homes, Green Belt, Conservation Areas, NPPF 5 Year Housing Land Supply and Sequential Test statements.

Design & Access Statements

What is a Design and Access Statement?

It is a short document submitted to accompany a planning application. It allows applicants and their agents to explain the design and overall development. It also justifies whether the development is an appropriate and suitable response to the site and context.

When is a Design and Access Statement required?

A Design and Access statement is required for all major developments. It is also needed for schemes in conservation areas and World Heritage Sites as well as for Listed Building Consent.

It also benefits more complicated schemes to help explain how they are being developed, as well as the benefits to the site.

How to write a design and access statement?

This is a key skill of a designer or planning consultant. We have written hundreds of such statements for a wide range of schemes. They need to be clearly written and provide a high-quality justification for the planning application. They also need to be up-to-date with current planning policies.

Design and access statement template and guidance

The statement must incorporate the overall concept and design principles as well as how the context has influenced the scheme.

Access is incorporated for the site as a whole, including into and around the site as well as any buildings. The level of detail in a Design and Access Statement should be proportional to the complexity of the application. For relatively straightforward schemes they may only be a few paragraphs long.

Householder Planning Statement

These are specific statements for works to private homes.

House extensions planning applications and home remodelling projects are often contentious and can be refused due to a lack of justification against the relevant local authority policies.

Many Local Planning Authorities have detailed supplementary planning guidance documents, Conservation Area Appraisals, and/ or Article 4 Directives.

These will relate to where your house is located and its type (i.e. Green Belt, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), Listed Buildings etc).

Heritage Statements

What is a Heritage Statement?

Sometimes referred to as a Heritage Impact Assessment, it is a statement which is required by the NPPF. It specifies the significance of any heritage asset affected, including any contribution made by their setting.

When is a heritage statement required?

It is required for applications or Listed Building Consent when proposals directly involve or affect the setting of a heritage asset.

Heritage assets may be formally ‘designated’ or ‘non-designated’. For example, listed buildings are designated whereas other buildings may still be heritage assets but will be ‘non-designated’.

A heritage statement is required for all applications affecting, Conservation Areas, Listed Buildings, World Heritage Sites, Scheduled Monuments,  Protected Wreck Sites, Registered Parks & Gardens and Registered Battlefields.

They are also required where buildings and sites that have historic value but may not have been nationally recognised or assessed.

Please contact us if you are looking for assistance with these. We have a range of experts, including our own in-house consultant who has been on the RIBA Conservation Register as well as external historic building specialists.

Green Belt Planning Statements

These can often be very complex and difficult to achieve. Particularly as local planning authorities are required to ensure that ‘substantial weight’ is given to any harm to the green belt. By definition, any inappropriate development may be harmful.

Please see our Green Belt Development page for further information. It is possible to justify that there are ‘very special circumstances’ which can be considered if these clearly outweigh any harm.

When can a Very Special Circumstances statement be useful?

They can be useful to justify proposals that would otherwise be unacceptable within the green belt. Examples of such statements include house extensions which are disproportionate or replacement dwellings which are materially larger.

Planning Statement for presentation to a Planning Committee

If an application is referred to a planning committee it will likely either have a recommendation for approval or refusal.

At these meetings, both applicants and interested parties will have the opportunity to make a short presentation to the committee members to either support or object to the application.

If you have had no professional planning assistance during the application process, or there are aspects of the committee report that either do not fully justify the scheme or contain inaccuracies, then having a Plande Consultant to read out a brief planning statement is the perfect opportunity to get your point across!

For objectors, a short planning statement is an opportunity to highlight any planning issues. Especially where the development does not accord with the development plan or is unacceptable with regards to other planning matters.

As time is very limited for such presentations, writing a succinct, powerful planning justification statement is crucial to enable the planning committee to understand the pertinent points.

Sequential Test or Assessment Planning Statements

What is a Sequential Test or Assessment?

Local Planning Authority policies often require town centre uses to be located within town centres. However, it can be possible that such uses are not possible or desirable for applicants.

A Sequential Assessment Planning Statement seeks to consider that there are no available or suitable town centre or edge of town centre locations (as necessary) to try and justify such uses in other locations.

When is a Sequential Test or Assessment required?

Each local authority differs. However, they are normally required for ‘town centre’ uses (retail, office, leisure & hotels). Also for  ‘edge of the town centre’,  ‘out of centre’ locations, for developments over a certain size, or where proposals are not in accordance with an up-to-date development plan.

Full Statement of Case for a Planning Appeal

Most appeals are undertaken via the ‘Written Representations’ route and as such, a Grounds of Appeal or ‘Full statement of Case’

Please see our planning appeals page for more information.

What our clients say...

I first came across your company via the internet. I was very happy with the speed of service and getting the case together before submitting for my appeal.

I found that the contents of the statement to be very compelling and had substance. I was also pleased that you included examples of other schemes that the council approved of before you submitted the statement. I was also pleased that you asked me if I wanted to make any amendments before finally submitting.

I was happy with your fee and found this to be very competitive.

I would recommend your services to others who may benefit from what you offer.

Grounds of appeal statement’ is excellent, you have obviously done a lot of research.
I want to thank you very much for all the effort and hard work you put into it, all the research carried out and the very comprehensive appeal documents you submitted.

A very thorough job.

We feel that the service we received from you was outstanding. Very professional and structured.

Communication was always quick and responsive.

A very helpful service, with the fastest possible turnaround and at the best price quoted- I’ll use again!

An excellent service handled with supreme attention to detail leading to a positive outcome.
Nothing to be improved upon – service was excellent and friendly throughout, from initial consultation to planning approval. thank you.

We would not hesitate to recommend you to other prospective clients. It was always easy to contact you and you kept us informed of progress. Everything was handled efficiently and professionally

Frequently asked planning statements and design and access statement questions

Why submit a planning statement?

Planning applications are often incorrectly refused for many different reasons.

It may be that the application package of information was not convincing enough for the Local Planning Authority. Planning policy may have been misinterpreted or a decision may have been overly swayed by strong objections.

Other reasons why a planning statement is a useful strategy is to justify that specific parts of the proposals are acceptable (the principle etc) and to summarise the keys aspects of complex schemes.

On larger, or more complicated schemes and especially where designs or the principle do not necessary completely accord to planning policy, a Planning Statement is essential to provide the background to the arguments.

Why choose Plande for your statement?

We have an expert in-house team with wide-ranging specialist external support where specific assistance is required

We create detailed and robust statements to give your planning application the best chance of achieving approval. Please see our about us page for more information.

Do you need to visit the site?

A physical site visit is usually not required. Any information, photographs,  drawings or plans can be emailed to provide the information.

We can get more using Google street view and the local authorities planning website to provide the information we need.

We can undertake site visits if required but they would incur an extra charge.

What is a Planning Policy Statement?

It sets out the justification of the planning application in the context of local and national planning policies.

These include Local Planning Authority supplementary planning guidance, the NPPF and other statutory policies.

Does a planning statement improve the chance of obtaining planning permission?

Yes, they definitely give the best chance of obtaining permission for your development. They justify and summarise a scheme and the relevant policies far better than simple drawings.

The design and supporting information are also crucial elements. As part of the process, we would advise of any further supporting information.

Sometimes a redesign may be the best way to obtain planning where a small detail or issue would prevent approval.

If this is the case, we would assist with this process, either as a standalone service (we have our own in-house RIBA Architects etc) or with your existing design team.

Why should we use Plande rather than our local architect or surveyor?

Planning statements are a highly specialist area incorporating many different aspects.

These include planning and case law. Our specialist team works on all types of statements across England, Scotland and Wales so our breadth of experience and independence from local political influences provides a unique and cost-effective service.

The planning system is becoming more and more complex and it is difficult for non-planning professionals to keep up-to-date with all changes to policies and case law. Particularly when matters relate to the NPPF Paragraph 79 homes or other hot political topics

We can work with your existing team this often provides a strong and robust planning package to ensure the best chance of success.

How long does a Planning Statement take to prepare?

We aim for between 5 – 10 working days, however in many cases these are completed sooner than this. Please contact us for more detailed information.

Should I submit a Planning Statement?

It is useful specifically to justify which aspects are acceptable and to help to reduce the overall time to achieve planning approval.

Your chances of success are greatly improved when using an experienced team to undertake your planning statement.

As part of our initial review process, we undertake research into the application and planning policies. We also, consider whether the proposals should be amended to help get planning approval. Either by amending the design or providing additional supporting information.

What types of statement can Plande undertake?

We undertake all types of statement. Our services primarily deal with Minor Applications ranging from 1 to 10 houses and up to 1,000 sq m of commercial development.

It is the complexity of the application that dictates whether we can assist. Please contact us with your project and we can advise further.

Statement examples

Writing planning statements or a design and access statements is not a one-size-fits-all approach.

There are key similarities in each of our statements. Please contact us for more information and specific examples to help with your project.

Disclaimer: This page provides an introduction only and is not a definitive statement of the law and should therefore not be relied upon. The information above relates to England only. Policies across the rest of the UK may differ. Contact your Local Planning Authority for advice and confirmation before any works are carried out. All images used are for illustrative purposes only. Read the full disclaimer here.

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